Dieting 101

Aug 27, 2013
Jim bw shred pose bbcom

How to get lean AND stay lean for good!

Before you read any further, I suggest that you first read " Jim’s Updated Muscle-Building Nutrition Rules."

When we talk about dropping body fat, we still want to maintain, if not build lean muscle mass and muscle strength. So, your first goal is to make sure that you have your diet and supplement plan set in place to maximize muscle growth. Study those nine rules I break down in that article. They're still critical, even as your goal shifts to fat loss.

If you’ve followed any of my training and diet programs to maximize fat loss, you know that they work very well.

Consider my very popular "Shortcut To Shred" diet on Bodybuilding.com and as "1-2-3 Lean" here on JimStoppani.com. Millions of people have gotten lean with this training, diet and supplement plan. You probably were one of the millions who actually witnessed those benefits on your own body. Yet I have to admit, the " 1-2-3 Lean/Shortcut To Shred" diet is not ideal for everyone because every body is different and responds differently to different diets.

The problem is that when I create a program that's meant to be helpful for millions of people, it needs to be easy to follow. Many people don’t even understand the difference between protein and carbs. Unlike you, most of these people just want to be told what to do. So, I created a diet that is easy for to follow and effective for most people.

Shortcut To Shred or not to shred?

As effective as "Shortcut To Shred" is, it may not be the best diet for your body to lose body fat while maintaining or building muscle.

With "Shortcut To Shred," you start with carbs at 1.5 grams per pound of body weight for one week. This is designed to help your body get used to the intense training and to keep your metabolic rate up before you start dropping carbs and calories. However, if your diet is already low-carb, then starting off at 1.5 grams of carbs may be too high for you.

In the second week of the diet, you drop carbs down to 1 gram per pound of body weight and then in weeks 4-6, you drop carbs again down to 0.5 grams per pound. This is a very effective strategy for continuing to drop body fat without hitting a plateau, for most people. While it's a great diet for most people, it just may not be the ideal diet for you.

The best diet for YOU

A better diet is one that considers what you are currently eating and how your body responds throughout the diet and adjusts accordingly.

Since I can't be there to monitor your progress, it will require a bit more work from you than just following a diet. But that’s why you're a member of my site: You want to learn more and figure out how to apply the info to your own body for better results. This is what this article will teach you -- how to figure out where to start on a fat-loss diet and how to progress based on your body’s response.

Let’s begin!

This article breaks down the nutrition information to maximize fat loss into steps. That’s because fat loss is a continual process and your diet must change gradually over time. The worst thing that you can do is immediately jump down to a very low amount of calories and carbohydrates.

For example, many people ask me if going on a keto diet where almost all carbs are removed from the diet is a smart plan. The answer is no. Yes, this can result in very rapid fat loss at the beginning, but after a few months, when fat loss stops and they hit a plateau, there's little wiggle room to remove more calories and continue losing body fat.

"Starvation mode"

When you diet, your body responds by going into "starvation mode." That means that your body slows down your metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn just sitting around. The reason for this is to conserve energy stores, namely your body fat. Your body prefers not to be lean, since body fat is stored energy that it can use when food is scarce. The greater you reduce your caloric intake, the bigger the drop in your metabolic rate and the quicker this will happen.

To prevent a massive slowing of your metabolic rate, you need to gradually reduce your calorie intake little by little.

Exercise will help keep your metabolic rate higher, but it can't prevent the gradual lowering of it as you lower calories. You want to start a diet for fat loss by eating as many calories as you can, while still losing weight. This way, you have ample room to keep lowering calories as your metabolic rate drops and fat loss hits a plateau. How do you figure out how many calories to start your diet with?

Step 1: Analyze your diet

To get the best estimate of where you should start for calories, you need to take an honest look at your current diet. I recommend recording everything you eat for one full week. But if that seems daunting, do at least two weekdays and one weekend day. If you have a scale, weigh food such as chicken, beef, fish, etc. For liquids and grains (rice, cereal), use measuring cups and spoons. If you have a good take on how much is one cup of something, or how much is 8 oz. of chicken breast, then estimate as best you can. The calories and macros for most foods will be covered in my "Food/Nutrient Database."For packaged foods, use the nutrition facts table on the box.

Keeping a food journal is a trick we use to keep people from straying from their diet. When they have a weak moment and crave a donut, knowing that they have to record that in their food log helps them avoid eating the donut. But during this week, don't avoid eating any of the foods that you normally do. The point is to access your true current diet so that you know where to start your new diet. If you alter it, it can actually work against your fat-loss efforts.

Calculate the amount of calories, grams of protein, grams of carbs, and grams of total fat for each food that you eat. Then add these up for all the foods that you eat each day. Using an Excel spreadsheet can help make this easier and will allow you to keep track of your diet. You can take the numbers from my database and enter them into Excel, then copy and paste into your current diet as you go.

Once you have the total amount of calories, grams of protein, carb and fat for each day, you need to get an average of all the days.

If you record seven days of food intake, add the calories up for all seven days and divide that number by seven to get the average calorie intake for the seven days. If you did just three days, then add up the total calories for the three days and divide by three. Do this also for grams of protein, grams of carbs and grams of fat.

But the critical factor is your average calorie intake. Take your average calorie intake and divide it by your body weight in pounds to calculate your average calories relative to your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and you consumed an average of 4,000 calories per day, you currently consume an average of 20 calories per pound of body weight.

Step 2: Focus on protein and fat

Create your initial diet by using the muscle-building guidelines in my "Updated Muscle-Building Nutrition Rules." Focus on Rules 1 and 3: protein and fat.

Start by making sure that you consume close to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and about 0.5 grams of fat per pound. Since there are 4 calories per gram of protein, that means that you will consume 6 calories from protein per pound of body weight. Fat has about 9 calories per gram, so you will be consuming 4.5 calories from fat per pound of body weight. Adding the calories from protein and the calories from fat, equals 10.5 calories per pound of body weight. Subtract 10.5 calories from the number of calories per pound of body weight you currently eat based on your food record. For the sample 200-pound person consuming 20 calories per pound of body weight, that equals 9.5 calories.

This is the amount of calories you can consume from carbs per pound of body weight. Since there are 4 calories per gram of carbs, that equals about 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Round that number down to 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.

Your new diet will consist of about 1.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, 0.5 grams of fat and 18.5 calories per pound of body weight. For the 200-pound sample person, that equates to 3,700 calories, 300 grams of protein, 400 grams of carbs, and 100 grams of fat per day. (See the sample diet for a 200-pound person following these guidelines below.)

Please note that the sample meal plans in this chapter are very similar for reason of illustrating how to change the diet when you move through the different steps. This doesn't mean that you should eat the same foods every day and the same foods in each step of the diet. You should have as much variety in your diet as possible. For food alternatives, refer to my Food Alternatives list.

Follow this diet for as long as you continue seeing fat loss results. Many of you will gain muscle mass, even as you're dropping fat, so don't use the scale as your major indicator of fat loss. Use the mirror, waist size, or the fit of the waist on your pants. An even better option is to have your body fat professionally measured by either a -site skinfold caliper, underwater weighing, or DEXA scan. Do not use bioelectrical impedance, which calculates percent body fat on how fast it takes a current to travel through your body. This method is not accurate at all!

The sample meals below are for workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving ofShred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Fat-burner supplements (take between late morning snack and lunch)

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Lunch

Afternoon Snack

Pre-workout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Fat-burner supplements (take between late-morning snack and lunch)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Lunch

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

Step 3: Reduce carbs

Your next step is to adjust your diet by reducing carbs by 0.25 grams per pound. As I mentioned above, as you reduce calories, your body responds by lowering your metabolic rate to burn fewer calories throughout the day. The only way to continue losing body fat is to reduce your calories.

Since you want to keep protein and fat up where they are to maximize muscle growth and strength gains, your best bet is to whittle away your carb intake. Each time you hit a plateau in your diet, and it seems like you have not made any fat loss progress for at least a week, it’s time to reduce carbs. You will reduce carbs by 0.25 grams per pound of body weight each time you need to cut again. That will reduce your total calorie intake by about 1 calorie per pound of body weight. For the 200-pound sample person, that equates to about a 200-calorie cut.

Since our sample 200 pounder is currently consuming 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight, his first cut will be bring him down to 1.75 grams per pound of body weight. Where you start reducing your carbs from depends on when you train. Regardless of when you train, you will cut post-workout carbs absolutely last.

For those who train in the morning, start reducing carbs from the end of the day and working up as you continue to drop. For those who train at night, start reducing your carbs from the start of the day and work down down as you continue to cut. It gets a little more tricky, if you train at lunch or before dinner. See the sample diets below for examples of how to drop carbs from your diet with each 0.25 gram per pound cut.

You will progressively cut carbs each time fat loss hits a plateau, until you are down to around just 0.25 g of carbs per pound. That is, if you ever have to get that low. Many will not have to get anywhere close to that, but it depends on where you are starting from, how active your training is, and how your body responds to the training and diet.

The sample meals below are for those making their first cut in carbs from 2.0 grams to 1.75 grams per pound of body weight (or 350 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to 17 per pound of body weight, or about 3,400 for the 200-pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving ofShred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Fat-burner supplements (take between late morning snack and lunch)

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Lunch

Afternoon Snack

Pre-workout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Fat-burner supplements (take between late-morning snack and lunch)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Lunch

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

The sample meals below are for those making the next cut in carbs from 1.75 grams to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight (or 300 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to 16 per pound of body weight or about 3,200 for the 200-pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese)

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs in olive oil)

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese)

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

The sample meals below are for those making the next cut in carbs from 1.5 grams to 1.25 grams per pound of body weight (or 250 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to 15 per pound of body weight or about 3,000 for the 200 pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

(mix pineapple in cottage cheese and eat with crackers)

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs in olive oil)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

The sample meals below are for those making the next cut in carbs from 1.25 grams to 1 gram per pound of body weight (or 200 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to 14 per pound of body weight or about 2800 for the 200 pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs in olive oil)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

The sample meals below are for those making the next cut in carbs from 1 gram to 0.75 grams per pound of body weight (or 150 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to 13 per pound of body weight or about 2,500 for the 200-pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs in olive oil)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

Pre-workout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

The sample meals below are for those making the next cut in carbs from 0.75 grams to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight (or 100 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to about 11 per pound of body weight or about 2,300 for the 200-pound sample person. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Pre-workout (as soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Fat-burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs in olive oil)

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after post-workout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Pre-workout (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Post-workout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

Step 4: Add a high-carb day

This step will be a favorite one for most of you as it gives you the opportunity to eat some of the foods you may have been craving on a low-carb diet. Once carbs drop to 0.5 grams per pound of body weight or lower, it’s advisable to include a higher carb day every week or so. This can help to keep your metabolic rate higher, even though your carbs and calorie intake is so low.

Plus, it works well as an incentive to get through the week. Most people find that they better police themselves during the low-carb days so they can feel like they earned the high-carb day. Once you have enjoyed the high-carb day, it’s easier to go back to the low-carb diet.

It doesn’t matter what day of the week is your high-carb day, but you don’t want to go any less than every 7 days. A weekend day works best for most people. Protein and fat should stay about the same, but you can drop them somewhat on your higher-carb day. But don’t allow protein to drop much lower than 1 grams per pound of body weight and fat to go any lower than 0.25 g per pound. You should shoot for about 2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight on your high carb day. That’s about 400 grams for the 200 pounder.

When it comes to the high-carb foods to choose, your best options are low-glycemic or slow-digesting carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, pastas and sweet potatoes. However, if you train on your high-carb day, then you should still consume high-glycemic carbs immediately after the workout. While the majority of your carbs should come from low-GI carbs, you can enjoy some high-GI carbs throughout the day.

Having a boost in insulin will help keep your metabolism higher and will allow you to enjoy some of the sweets you may have been craving. When it comes to fruit, you should consume it just through the first half of the day.

Foods on the high-carb days should not be high-carb, high-fat foods like, donuts, ice cream, or pizza. But if you're really craving these foods, then have a reasonable portion to keep cravings at bay and stay on track.

The sample meals below are for workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Preworkout 1 (As soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Fat burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

(add sauce to crust and top with cheese; cook at 400 °F for 10-15 min or until cheese is browned)

Lunch

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

(Add honey and walnuts to yogurt and eat)

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Breakfast

Late morning snack

(add sauce to crust and top with cheese; cook at 400 °F for 10-15 min or until cheese is browned)

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Breakfast

Late morning snack

(add sauce to crust and top with cheese; cook at 400 °F for 10-15 min or until cheese is browned)

Lunch

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Before Bed Snack

(Add honey and walnuts to yogurt and eat)

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Breakfast

Late morning snack

(add sauce to crust and top with cheese; cook at 400 °F for 10-15 min or until cheese is browned)

Lunch

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

(Add honey and walnuts to yogurt and eat)

Step 5: Cut carbs by 0.25 grams one final time

You can slash carbs once more before you hit the lowest you can go. After all, you still need vegetables, and although they provide a good deal of fiber, they also provide real net carbs. Some experts recommend not counting carbs from vegetables as part of your daily total of carbs due to the high fiber content of most vegetables. Yet the carb content of most vegetables is less than 50% fiber. So if you’re eating a lot of vegetables, this can add up.

So instead, I prefer to count even fiber as part of daily carb intake, but realizing that at the lowest point, carb intake will still be a good 30-60 grams depending on the diet, or roughly about 0.25 grams per pound of body weight. There are also small amounts of carbs in most protein shakes. Since you need them to maximize your results in the gym, you’ll need to leave room in your diet. The bottom line is that at the lowest point, you can never truly get to zero grams of carbs.

During this phase of the diet, you should definitely include one high-carb day each week. Having this high-carb day to look forward to will make a real difference in your ability to tolerate such extremes in dieting.

The sample meals below are for those making the final cut in carbs from 0.5 grams to 0.25 grams per pound of body weight (or 50 grams of carbs total for the 200 pounder). This drops calories to about 10 per pound of body weight or about 2000 for the 200-pound sample person. Protein and fat stay steady as they have throughout. Remember that these meal plans are based on workout days. On rest days from the gym, skip the post-workout meal and have the pre-workout meal as a snack.

Sample meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

Preworkout 1 (As soon as you wake/30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil )

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat-burner supplements (as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Breakfast

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil)

Late morning snack

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Lunch (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Afternoon Snack

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Before Bed Snack

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat-burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast

Late-morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat-burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM)

Afternoon Snack

(make peanut butter sandwich to eat with shake)

Dinner

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack

Step 6: Switch to intermittent fasting – Once you get down to 0.25 g carbs per pound of body weight, it’s next to impossible to go any lower in carbs. This small amount of carbs is coming from protein sources and vegetables. If you get down this low in carbs and hit a plateau, then there is a very good chance that that’s because you are down at extremely low levels of body fat, but want to get even lower. For men, this would be somewhere around 5% and women somewhere around 12%. To keep losing body fat, you could continue by dropping protein and fat, but that could compromise muscle mass. So an alternative to try first is intermittent fasting (IF).

For more on IF, click the link below to read my article on IF: http://www.jimstoppani.com/home/articles/intermittent-fasting

Sample IF meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

During workout (drink during workouts)

(*You can get all of the supplements above plus others with just one scoop of my preworkout formula Pre JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/pre-jym.html)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts – this starts your 8-hour eating window)

Breakfast (after 30 minutes after postworkout meal)

Fat burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Snack

Dinner

Snack (within 8 hours from when you consumed postworkout meal)

Sample IF meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Preworkout 1 (30 minutes before workouts; this starts your 8-hour feeding window)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Fat burner supplements (take between breakfast and snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Snack (within 8 hours from preworkout meal)

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

Breakfast (This starts your 8-hour feeding window so have this 8 hours before you plan on having your last meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil)

Late morning snack

Fat burner supplements (take between snack and lunch)

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Afternoon Snack

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Snack (within 8 hours of breakfast)

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast (This starts your 8-hour feeding window so have this 8 hours before you plan on having your last meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil)

Late morning snack

Fat burner supplements (take between snack and lunch)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Snack

Dinner

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack (within 8 hours of breakfast)

Step 7: Lower fat and protein – The low carb IF should get you down to as low in body fat as you ever need to go. However, every body reacts differently. So if you have hit a fat loss plateau with low-carb IF then you will need to adjust your diet yet again. As I’ve mentioned, once you are down to 0.25 g carbs per pound of body weight, it’s fairly impossible to go any lower in carbs without removing vegetables and protein shakes, which you really do not want to do. The only thing left to do now is lower the other macronutrients – fat and protein. This will bring calories down again and allow you to burn up more body fat.

So you will cut out some protein shakes, such as with breakfast, and will cut out some fat from peanut butter and by reducing the amount of salad dressing you use. This will bring protein intake down to about 1.25 grams per pound of body weight and fat to about 0.25 grams per pound of body weight. And calories will now be down to just 9 calories per pound of body weight, or about 1800 calories total for the 200 pound person.

Of course, you will also continue to employ IF to help with fat loss as you are lowing calories through less protein and fat consumption. Be sure to add a high carb day, but keep it within the 8 hour feeding window with IF.

Sample IF meal plan for those working out first thing in the morning:

During workout (drink during workouts)

(*You can get all of the supplements above plus others with just one scoop of my preworkout formula Pre JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/pre-jym.html)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts – this starts your 8-hour eating window)

Fat burner supplements (take between breakfast and late-morning snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Snack

Dinner

Snack (within 8 hours from when you consumed postworkout meal)

Sample IF meal plan for those working out at lunchtime:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Preworkout 1 (30 minutes before workouts; this starts your 8-hour feeding window)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Breakfast (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil )

Fat burner supplements (take between lunch and afternoon snack)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM:http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Late morning snack

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Snack (within 8 hours from preworkout meal)

Sample meal plan for those working out after work/before dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/jym/shred-jym.html)

Breakfast (This starts your 8-hour feeding window so have this 8 hours before you plan on having your last meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil)

Late morning snack

Fat burner supplements (take between snack and lunch)

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Afternoon Snack

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Dinner (30-60 minutes after postworkout meal)

Snack (within 8 hours of breakfast)

Sample meal plan for those working out at night after dinner:

Fat burner supplements (take as soon as you wake up)

(You can get all the supplements above with one serving of Shred JYM

Breakfast (This starts your 8-hour feeding window so have this 8 hours before you plan on having your last meal)

(scramble eggs cook in olive oil)

Late morning snack

Fat burner supplements (take between snack and lunch)

Lunch

(add tuna to salad)

Afternoon Snack

Dinner

Preworkout 1 (30-45 minutes before workouts)

Postworkout (within 30 minutes after workouts)

Before Bed Snack (within 8 hours of breakfast)

Step 8: Drop protein and fat again, if needed – Step 7 should be the last step that anyone would need to make to reach their goal, even if it was getting down to low levels of body fat for a fitness or bodybuilding competition or photo shoot. But, as I have said, every body is different and there is always one person who is an outlier and does not respond as you would expect them to.

If you have hit a plateau in fat loss and do have some more body fat to strip away, then you would simply continue making small reductions in your calories by dropping more fat and protein. You could cut out olive oil completely and use non-caloric cooking spray to cook with and use just vinegar for salad dressing. And you could reduce your protein meals by about ¼ of the serving size. These small changes will allow you to keep calories slowly dropping and fat loss to continue.

Maintaining Your New Lean Body

A common question I get form those dieting down to low levels of body fat is how to maintain that lean body without gaining body fat while trying to build more muscle. It is quite possible to do so if you are very careful and detailed with your diet. You simply can’t go back to the way you were eating before you started to get serious with your fat loss diet. That will lead to rapid fat gain as your metabolism is a bit slower at this moment. Just like dieting down in carbs and calories was a slow and progressive process, so should be your return to a higher carb and higher calories diet. Simply put, you will reverse the steps that brought you to where you now are.

Your strategy to gain muscle but not fat will be to slowly move to the step prior to your current step in the diet process. So if you left off at Step 7, then you will move into Step 6 of the diet. How long you stay there depends on how your body reacts. I would suggest staying with a diet step no less than two weeks before moving up to the next step. Your body will need time to adjust to the higher carb and calorie intake. It will respond by increasing your metabolic rate, which will allow you to consume those higher carb and calorie intakes without adding body fat, or at least not adding much body fat. You will likely not be able to maintain the exact amount of body fat and you reached in your final stages of the diet while you are adding back carbs and calories. But if you do it slowly enough, there will be very minimal amounts of fat added.

If you find that you are gaining fat readily when you move up a step then I suggest you do some diet cycling. For example, if you are currently at 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight and find that moving up to 0.75 grams of carbs per pound is putting some fat on your physique then I would suggest sticking with the 0.5 grams for two days and then doing a day of 0.75 grams and then back to 0.5 grams for two days and back to 0.75 grams. Then eventually move to alternating 0.5 grams and 0.75 grams every day. Then eventually move into consuming 0.75 grams of carbs every day.

The nice thing about maintaining your lean physique by slowly increasing carbs and calories is that many people can afford to include a real cheat day once per week. So instead of having a “clean” high carb day once a week where fat is relatively low and you are focusing on low-fat carbs like rice, oatmeal, popcorn, etc you can also include some “dirty” foods like ice cream, donuts, pizza, etc.

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WHO IS JIM STOPPANI?

Jim Stoppani received his doctorate in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut. Following graduation, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow in the prestigious John B. Pierce Laboratory and Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine, where he investigated the effects of exercise and diet on gene regulation in muscle tissue. He was awarded the Gatorade Beginning Investigator in Exercise Science Award in 2002 by the American Physiological Society.


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